Energy has always been a major issue in the development of a nation. Sustainable energy is absolutely paramount to continued growth and expansion. 3d printing has already made major leaps in the energy field. Printed batteries are already a reality. As the renewable energy movement has gained more and more momentum, 3d printed solar panels are now a reality.
This video brings up some very interesting concepts. Urban environments offer so much available surface area that could be used absorbing light but are rather wasted. Retrofitting these panels could be a massive step towards energy independence. The energy to volume ratio of these new panels absolutely trumps the vast majority of the traditional clunky panels that are still going up.
Consumer electronic solar panels cost the most per unit of energy obtained. This is mainly because of the rise in labor costs, particularly overseas, despite the drop in cost of silicone (the primary material used for solar panels). The beauty of 3d printing is that anyone will be able to print solar panels if they have the photovoltaic ink and a printer. The Portabee printer is a printer already making it way to the consumer market that prints silicone solar chips rather than ink. The concept is close, but this printer’s final products lacks the flexibility and thinner profile of the one in the video.